Bridgerton is Pride and Prejudice meets Gossip Girl indeed
When Bridgerton first premiered on Netflix, I didn’t think much of it. It looked like something I had seen before; it felt like I had already been inside its storyline. So many headlines were calling it a mix of Pride & Prejudice and Gossip Girl—two things I grew up with—and I felt no need to be introduced to their love child.
But you know the leading cause of love children? Boredom and free time. So when the Christmas holidays hit and the long weekends came around, I finally plunged myself into the black hole that is Bridgerton.
Bridgerton follows the story of Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest unmarried female of her powerful family, as she makes her debut into Regency London’s marriage market. Hoping to find true love without having to sacrifice social standing, she takes her time and agrees to a bogus courtship with the season’s hottest bachelor, Simon (AKA the Duke of Hastings). But with Lady Whistledown, a newly launched gossip column, the two have their work cut out for them (as does everyone in London society).
And anyway, we all know where bogus relationships lead to: the real thing. Just look at To All The Boys I Loved Before, She’s All That, The Proposal, Sabrina (not The Chilling Adventures of) and literally a dozen other films. We also know what a duly-followed gossip column brings: drama. And with a sprinkling of old-timey-ness in the form of toxic masculinity, arranged marriages and budding feminism, you have Bridgerton.
In many ways, it really is a hodgepodge of all the biggest titles in Pop Culture. But hey, we love a tasteful mashup—especially when it comes in a pretty package.
In terms of originality, Bridgerton doesn’t shine. Simon is your typical machismo-on-the-outside-emotional-baggage-on-the-inside bachelor and Daphne is the standard pretty-face-but-I-will-get-in-your-face debutante. The supporting cast is not that much better, with older brother Anthony struggling to act as the stronghold of the family while dealing with private matters of his heart, breath-of-fresh-air younger sister Eloise who wants nothing but to break free of tradition and even Lady Whistledown, with her anonymity and from-the-outside-looking-in façade.
So why has it struck gold with all of us? The quick and easy answer is that it puts together all the things we hate to love. It’s guilty pleasure after guilty pleasure.
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Bridgerton is the best of old London society we keep going back to (see: The Crown), mixed with all the drama and risqué behavior our generation has grown accustomed to seeing (see: Dynasty, The Vampire Diaries, The L Word, Skins). It marries what we know ~of~ and what we ~actually~ know—and who doesn’t like being in the realm of familiar?
But even with this familiarity, there is still the understanding that more can come from it, and we then have the opportunity to be surprised.
Who knows what Bridgerton will remind us of next?
Catch Bridgerton on Netflix. And watch out for season 2 ?
Art Alexandra Lara